The One Emotion That Can Drive Prospects To Make Decisions

There are many emotions that we experience when we are in front of a prospect. We may be nervous about the reaction we might get when we meet up. We might be concerned that we may miss a key component when we discuss the needs of the prospect. And we may feel buzzed and excited about the possibilities of doing business with this client.

But what about the prospect’s emotions? How do they feel about the situation? Might they be nervous and anxious about making a decision? Could they resist because they don’t want to be put under pressure?

The interesting thing about human emotions is that they have a major influence on decision-making. The reason for this is they drive our pain and pleasure centres in the brain. When we make a decision, it’s normally for one of two reasons…either to move away from loss, discomfort or pain, or to move toward benefit, pleasure or opportunity.

We tend to do more to avoid pain than gain benefits, so what kind of emotions will drive our prospects to make a decision to agree that our proposal will be the best for them?

Strange as it may appear, one of the biggest driving forces is fear. Fear of loss or fear of missing out on something has been a key component of advertising and marketing over the years, because advertisers recognise the power of this force. How can you use this knowledge to build a good relationship and rapport with the prospect?

1) Recognise that fear of loss, pain or discomfort is a key driver of decisions. Ask yourself; what are the benefits that the prospect would miss out on if they didn’t go with your solution? What profits could they lose if they chose a different option? The power of your solution should encourage the prospect to think about how much they would be without if they went with someone else?

2) Ask the prospect about the possible losses they would incur and whether these would be acceptable if they didn’t go with you. By encouraging them to think about the end results, they think more about the destination than the journey.

3) Encourage them to consider the benefits they would achieve with your solutions rather than the competition’s. These facts will allay the fears the prospect may have when they think of any changes that might have to take place if they chose a new supplier or went in a different direction.

4) Build confidence in the decision to go with you, so the fear of making a mistake diminishes as this assurance grows. Nothing gets rid of fear quicker than the power confidence gives to a person, so ensure you build that emotion in the prospect, and the debilitating effects of the fear of making decisions will diminish.

Put these ideas into action and you’ll see these major away-from emotions start to work for you rather than against you.

Happy selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

(Image by Stuart Miles at

Sales Blog Call to Action

Management Share Blog Button

Helping Customers Make Decisions

Your ability to sell is most often tied in to your ability to help customers make the best decisions for themselves and their businesses.

Having seen many salespeople try to persuade customers by telling them how good their products and services are, we have written many times of the need to put on the buyer’s mind-set, see things from their perspective and determine what makes them make the decision to buy.

How others make decisions was the subject of a study by Daniel Kahneman, who developed ‘prospect theory’ and won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2002.

Kahneman’s studies describe how people make choices in situations where they have to decide between alternatives that involve risk, e.g. in financial decisions. Starting from empirical evidence, the theory describes how individuals evaluate potential losses and gains. Interestingly, in its original form,  the term prospect referred to a lottery!

How does this apply to us? Well, here are six points from Kahneman’s work that help us understand how customers can be helped to make decisions:

  1. Anchoring. Do more or less than 15% of the population have life insurance? The question is anchored around 15% and you are getting your customer to start with that figure in mind. So, before you start dealing with figures, have an anchored figure set the tone for the discussions.
  2. Loss aversion. Losses to a customer could be rational and economic. How much would they lose if they didn’t take up your offer? Remember also the emotional losses they might encounter if they don’t go with you. How would they be made to ‘feel’ by their end-users or stakeholders if they made the decision to change?
  3. Social proof. Have you noticed that sports fans like to wear the same kit as their heroes? At the deepest level, they think ‘If it works for my favourite player, maybe it could work for me’. Show your customers how others have succeeded in using your services and the benefits they gained. This social proof is a good tool to get people to make a risk-free decision.
  4. Framing. Do you prefer savings and investment or cuts and spending? Basically, they’re the same thing, only the language is different. By framing the words in such a way that you are talking the same language as the customer, you enjoy a closer rapport and understanding.
  5. Repetition. Advertisers know this. By maintaining a stance on a subject, you use their convincer style to recommend a decision to the customer. Repeating an idea three times in a conversation hammers the idea home.
  6. Emotional credibility. Make your point relevant to the specific customer you are with. If the recession didn’t affect them, no amount of description of the economic situation will hit home. But if they had to close businesses and set up again, the recession will have a major credible impact. Persuade them from their vantage point, and you will have a good basis for decision-making.

Decision-making is emotional, and if you recognise this in your discussions with customers, it will help you to get to the decision-making point quicker.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat
The UK’s #1 Authority On Modern Day Selling
MTD Sales Training

Sales Blog Call to Action

Management Share Blog Button

Emotional Selling Proposition – Better Than A Unique Selling Proposition?

Emotional Selling Proposition - have you got one?

We all know that sales are based mostly on emotion and the decision is backed up with logic.

That’s the law of the salesperson!

You’ve heard of a USP right? i.e Unique Selling Proposition – well, these are the benefits that your prospects and clients can look forward to receiving when they purchase your wares.

They could be called “THE LOGICAL BENEFITS” of doing business with you.

Your Sales Manager and Sales Director will most likely ram USP’s down your throat so you can discuss them with your prospects.

But based upon what we said earlier, your prospects will make their buying decisions based upon emotion and will back that decision up with logic and not just logic alone via your USPs. Are are USP’s really USP’s any longer? Everyone seems to have the same USP’s!

Therefore, you need to work out what your ESP is!

And your ESP stands for your:


So what’s an Emotional Selling Proposition?

Sure, your USP will provide logic and reasoning as to why someone should select you but their primary reason will be an emotional one.

Your ESP’s are your products/service/companies emotional levers that help the prospect to buy. They are the “beneath the service” triggers to creates emotion.

So think about the feelings and the emotions that you want to stir up with your prospects and clients and use this in your sales. Can your product/service make the prospect:

* Feel important
* Feel valued
* Feel part of a unique group or select band of people
* Feel whole
* Feel remembered
* Feel attractive
* Feel trendy
* Feel hip
* Feel safe
* Feel accepted

You get the picture!

So, next time you are revisiting your USP’s make sure you take just as long if not longer on your emotional selling proposition too.

Happy ESP!


Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Blog

Telephone: 0800 849 6732

Sales Blog Call to Action

Management Share Blog Button